Sligoâ€™s U14 rugby team played their Westport counterparts in Westport on Saturday last in the second round of the Connacht U14 North Division League and came away with a 12-0 victory. The game, which was played in dry conditions but with a very strong cross-field wind blowing in from Croagh Patrick, was a close contest throughout.
This team were the first representatives from Sligo RFC to run out onto a pitch wearing the new look Sligo jersey which is generously sponsored by MIXIMO.
Right from the kick off both packs fought a hard battle, with a strong wind contributing to ball handling errors on both sides. Sligoâ€™s front row of Jack Kennedy, Ben Spellman and Philip Moriarty at hooker never eased off in effort and they were well supported by locks Jonathan Draper and James Mullen. The back row of Martin Clarke, Sean Donnelly at open-side and Diarmuid Oâ€™Dowd Hill at number 8 were industrious and continuously carried the game to the over-worked Westport pack.
The first score came after 15 minutes of play when Ben Spellman delivered a long pass to Caomhan Lyons positioned on the left wing. The winger made a great run up the touchline. He then cut infield, evading tackles, to touch down for a try in favourable position for second centre, Kieran Blake to land the conversion despite the strong wind. Kieran was also captain on the day.
Much of the opening half was played deep within Sligo territory. The entire team fought tremendously to prevent Westport from crossing the tryline, to leave the halftime score 7-0 in Sligoâ€™s favour.
The second half began as the first half ended with both teams believing this game was there for the winning. However, despite a gallant Westport offence they could not get over the tryline. Sligo secured one more try when scrum-half Ross Gordon passed the ball to his out-half Will Weaver. Will, with an impressive display of speed, cut his way in a straight line through the home teamâ€™s defence to score his teamâ€™s second and last try.
In addition to the players already mentioned, Eoin Flanagan made a noticeable contribution at inside centre. Eoin has just returned from injury. Winger David Heffernan handled the ball well despite a limited amount of ball getting out his wing. Enda Roche was the last man in defence at fullback and was well positioned running into the backline when required. In the second half Patrick Saba was also introduced. Cyrus McGlynn and Eddie Weaver were unfortunate not to get a piece of the action on this occasion as time just ran out.
Coaches John Davey and Dean Weaver will be happy with the teamâ€™s performance in the league to date.
More photos from the match can be found here.